By GLENN TOLLE
Starring Keli Price, Brea Grant and Stephen Ellis
Directed by Phillip Guzman
Written by Jason Murphy
Sleep. I haven’t been doing much of it lately. I should but, well, there are so many good horror films to watch! Unfortunately, SLEEP NO MORE is not one of them. That’s not to say it’s terrible, but it just might put you to sleep.
The movie opens on a gaggle of grad students who are trying to cure sleep. They’ve got a new-fangled drug called “Cogniph” that they think might cure the need for napping. But what if we’re not the only ones who need to nap? What if an entity or entities also need us to nap? This being a horror film you can bet they don’t just roll over and let us cure ourselves of their life source.
Before I get into the yawn inducing aspects of SLEEP NO MORE, let me first highlight its positives. First, is the ’80s aesthetic in set design; rarely have I seen that decade brought to life as well, with the possible exception of big budget STRANGER THINGS. Save for a few minute misplaced accents you would be hard pressed to find much that would ruin SLEEP NO MORE’s carefully crafted time warp illusion. Next, are the acting and the script, both solid and effective. You really feel the physical, mental and emotional stress these characters are going through in the name of curing sleep. In fact, just watching these characters crumble from sleep deprivation is, in a way, more frightening than any of the supernatural forces in this film (more on that soon). Finally we have SLEEP NO MORE’s score and general concept, both fairly pedestrian, but otherwise appealing. The score moves the film along nicely, adequately elevating certain scenes, and the general concept keeps you interested (as much as you can be) throughout the running time.
Now the negatives: the first no hitter is the pacing, which is…. soooo slow. It’s almost as if each scene is a piece in a puzzle that doesn’t have anything interesting to show when placed. Speaking of showing things, the monsters are a CGI cringe fest. I can’t help thinking that much of the glorious ’80s immersion came at the expense of the effects budget. While I LOVE the 80s aesthetic in this film I would have loved even more PRACTICALLY done monsters, said monsters are left to the edges where they peek out from a cloud of digitally rendered smoke. Finally (and you knew this was coming), SLEEP NO MORE is not scary. As in not at all. It was decently gruesome and modestly tense but scary? Nope.
What can I say; forget this film’s title: go get those eight hours your eyeballs are craving and skip this cinematic sedative.
SLEEP NO MORE arrives on VOD and DVD October 2nd.